NOWRA’S medical infrastructure is expanding and will present a new challenge – finding staff.
The issue was highlighted during a visit by Australian Medical Association president Associate Professor Brian Owler last Thursday.
Associate Professor Owler was in Nowra speaking with doctors and gaining a better understanding of how the area’s medical industry was tracking compared to other regional areas.
“Healthcare is a major issue at the moment, given the cost controls put in place by the state government and the fact that it is a federal election year,” he said.
“It’s a very important time to be talking to doctors and the communities they serve about how this all affects them.
“Nowra’s got a lot of the same issues as other regions with the workforce being the primary issue.
“It is a beautiful place but getting enough doctors to work there is a challenge.
“Nowra should have a lot of advantages; it’s close to Sydney and attractive area to live and raise a family.
“But it’s very dependent on the hard-working doctors who are there and we need more.”
Assiciate Professor Owler said there were bureaucratic and administrative issues that if addressed could probably make it easier to get more doctors to the area.
“It’s not just about money, it’s about having that critical mass, so the doctors you have are not overworked and getting burnt out,” he said.
“Nowra hospital is a nice hospital and there is new infrastructure going in.
“Other services like surgical, paediatrics and obstetrics need more people, more doctors and resources.
“It is nice to see that new cancer centre going in there, and Nowra is lucky to have that, however they do need to do some resourcing in terms of the oncologists to staff it,” he said.
In addition to being AMA (NSW) president, Associate Professor Owler is the face of the NSW Government Don’t Rush road safety campaign.
“I am happy that the campaign is continuing to be effective – it was especially pleasing to see the road toll for the recent Australia Day long weekend was zero.
“It appears we are headed for a record low road toll in January.
“This doesn’t change the fact we should be aiming for a road toll of zero every day but I am glad fewer people are dying needlessly.
“It is also no reason for complacency as there is a hidden road toll of people with permanent injuries like brain damage and paralysis.
“If more people understood the severity of the injuries people sustain and how the people around them suffer, people would take fewer risks on the road,” he said.